It's summertime! It's the season of hot and humid weather in Virginia.
Summer---the time to indulge in special treats, frozen delights, ice cream, coolers, watermelons and vegetables, especially local produce. It's the time to wear sandals, flip flops, shirts and shorts, and shades.
Yes, summer is here, like it or not. Iced-cold drinks are in demand to quench one's thirst or to combat summer heat. Whew, sizzling summer is now in full swing! Heat and humidity are becoming unbearable. So, watch out for the elderly and pets. They're vulnerable to heat-related injuries.
Weeks before the official arrival of summer, air conditioning units in homes and businesses already had been turned on for everyone's comfort.
Lots of activities (outdoor, especially) await, especially for children who need a break from school and clamor for vacation somewhere. They are ready to experience and learn new things.
Many parents already have planned something for their children, whether summer camps, road trips, cruises or vacation Bible school programs.
How and where do you plan to spend your summer vacation? At home? Out of town? Out of the country? Whatever you do, be safe while having a good time out there.
Safety is everyone's responsibility. Whether you're traveling, cruising, camping, gardening or working, observe safety at all times.
Heat exposure is a concern this summer. There are preventive measures you can take to avoid heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat stroke or hyperthermia and other conditions associated with hot weather.
While you are away from home, your house should be properly locked, pets taken care of and cars and other valuable property kept safely. If you have a neighbor or friend you can trust, let him or her know, ahead of time before your getaway, to keep an eye on your house and property.
Keeping the community safe is everyone's responsibility. We are the eyes and ears of law enforcement officers. Therefore, report to the police anything or anyone that's suspicious in your neighborhood. Don't be a victim of crime. And don't take justice into your hands.
Prevention is the key to an enjoyable summer vacation, whether it's prevention of crime, prevention of heat-related illness or prevention of drowning? Practice prevention and common sense.
Summer reading is one activity that young and old should not overlook while enjoying summer somewhere. Learning is ageless and timeless, and it continues for all seasons.
Parents, bring your kids to the library and engage them in worthwhile activities that challenge them to think, to question and be curious, to wonder (and wander). Give them a book appropriate to their age level. If you need help, ask the librarian. Check out if the library has a summer reading program for different age groups.
Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. That's the quote from Joseph Addison (1672-1719), an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician. Your body is stimulated and your muscles become strong when you exercise. You stimulate your brain and become smarter when you read.
Have a fun-filled, safe and stimulating summer!
-Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Appeared in the Opinion page of the award-winning Suffolk News-Herald, Wednesday, June 24, 2015. For more information, visit www.suffolknewsherald.com.